Through Mexican cinema you can get to know the environment, the people’s way of thinking, customs. Cinema in Mexico allowed a part of its history to be kept as scenes of the Mexican Revolution and important characters of the same have been immortalized. And because cinema is a mass medium, it can be a support for understanding the history that has accompanied free textbooks.
Keywords: History, cinema, free textbook.
Cinema as a means of entertainment has lasted its boom, now look for creative forms of expression that allow, without the intention, to know about a part of history and current customs, depending on the genre.
Every time they are looking for better special effects, majestic settings, fantastic stories and recreation of historical moments, all this to entertain the masses or to propose a reflection to the spectators. And over time it has been sought that the child audience also have films that make them enjoy this art. And special effects are an important part of this experience.
This research hypothesizes that film can be a didactic resource to motivate students and show them the history of the emergence of free textbooks and their context. To know the organization of resources and efforts of each character to achieve the unification of the people, a way to free them from ignorance, a condition that for a long time prevailed among the most disadvantaged.
Currently, in the knowledge society, a diverse panorama is opening up based on information and communication technologies (Tic´s), which are tools that facilitate the emission, access and processing of information by means of codes that can be texts, images, sounds, among others.
These changes have been dizzying and current generations can learn by searching for information on the Internet, and cinema is not only a means of entertainment, it can also provide testimony of characters, events and customs of past times that have been recorded to study them from different fields.
The film is used as support to strengthen the subject matter that is being addressed in the classroom, as expressed by Rey above all to support the History class and provides the possibility of being the starting point for a debate on some points on the subject. (Rey, 2013, pág. 16)
According to García, the main sources for the approach to cinema as a didactic resource are publications and the Internet. In a word, it is closer to people both individually and collectively, and therefore occupies a privileged place as a form of entertainment, but in education it forms part of an element that can favour an approach to History and in the area of Language and Literature. (Vera, 2011, pág. 4)
We must also consider that, when choosing a film, it is necessary to recognize that it has a certain directorial bias and that it does not necessarily exemplify reality, because it has the interpretations of who is behind the camera. (Vera, 2011, pág. 16)
Ruiz maintains that cinema is an art of the masses that allows us to understand some current historical-social aspects, and because of its great diffusion it can transmit ideology, attitudes, values and norms because it reaches many people in a short time, which requires training so that the spectator can discover the aesthetic part, and thus be able to take a critical stance before the proposal made by the film. (Ruiz , 1994, p. 2)
The research method used to produce this article on the textbook and how film disseminates patterns of behavior, fashions and values according to a given time was a qualitative analysis because from the facts expressed in various audiovisual media, books and magazines on the history of film and the beginnings of the free textbook, as well as the review of film tapes, relationships are established and information is described about the ideology of a given time in which the textbook arises and its importance to the Mexican people.
The information was also recorded based on a discrimination of various materials (books, electronic journals, documents, cinematographic tapes themselves and making were used books, electronic media such as magazines and documents that are secondary sources.
In Mexico the first book that was used for education was the catechism, it was handled after the conquest until the end of the war of reform in 1861, its predominant qualities were the transmission of hierarchies, obedience and loyalty, necessary conditions to continue perpetuating the power of the dominant elite.
Public education began with laws 21 and 23 of 1833 issued by Gómez Farías. The General Directorate of Public Instruction for the Federal District and Territories is created. It is declared that education is free and that it is the responsibility of the State to take care of it. (Vargas, 2019, págs. 3-5)
Juarez considered education as a fundamental element to make a social transformation a reality, because it was linked to the living conditions of the population. In the field of education, it established a secondary school for women, the school for the blind, the school for the deaf, and also laid the foundations for the foundation of teacher training colleges.
Another important element is that the freedom of education is approved. The Reform Laws (1855-1862) established the sale of real estate that belonged to the church and above all that the teaching was the responsibility of the State.
Article 3 of the 1857 Constitution declared: "Teaching is free. The law will determine which professions need a degree and with what requirements they must be issued" The constitution also declared the equality of citizens before the law.
These provisions strengthened the secular character of education and the strength of the State as an educator. (Villa, 2009)(p. 31-32) For this passage of our history and education, one can use the film "El joven Juárez" ("The Young Juarez"), a film that premiered on July 15, 1954 (Mexico) and was directed by Emilio Gómez Muriel.
Beginnings of cinema and relationship with mexican history and education
The cinema creation of the Lumiére brothers, arrived in Mexico in August 1896, at that time President Porfirio Diaz great admirer of all inventions, and the cinematographer saw along with some members of his cabinet scenes of everyday life as "Departure of the workers of the Lumière factory in Lyon Monplaisir, Arrival of a train at the Ciotat station and El regador irrigado", regarding the arrival of the train, in several articles it is mentioned that the concurrence when seeing the train in movement, stops from its seat so as not to be overwhelmed. (Aguilar, 2008)(slide 3)
This invention had and continues to have a great impact on the social life of Mexico, as events and characters relevant to the history of our country are edited.
According to Aguilar (2008) Porfirio Diaz is considered the first actor in Mexican cinema because the first film made in the country was "El presidente de la republica pase a caballo en el bosque de Chapultepec" (The President of the Republic riding a horse in the Chapultepec forest) in 1869.
The president considered the potential he had among the population, and that this invention allowed him to make propaganda for his purposes. Later the Mexican Revolution was the first historical event that was documented and great characters were immortalized by this medium.
The cinema in this initial period was documentary and was projected as a newsreel, making known the battles of Villa in the north of the country. Villa signed an exclusive contract with Mutual Film Company, which allowed his image to spread in the United States. (Tomatazos, 2006)
The arrival of Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, who regarded cinema as a means of manipulating the emotions of the audience, inspired Antonio Moreno and in 1931 made the first feature-length sound film "Santa".
The revolution in cinema, in the 1930s, has an educational intention to say of Vidaurri, and can be identified in Fernando de Fuentes’ films "El prisionero 13 (1933), "El compadre Mendoza" (1933), and "Vámonos con Pancho Villa" (1935). In the following years this intention was blurred and the revolution only remained as a historical, dramatic, heroic fact, but without a political character. (Vidaurri, pág. 1)
According to Melche in the years 30´s one of the referents is the submission of the woman and in each of the cinematic films of country style, this condition is evidenced in the fragile woman who is subordinated to the masculine will that becomes evident in "Flor Silvestre" where the feminine character does not have an opinion, nor is able to express it, so her destiny does not belong to her. (Melche , 1997, pág. 1)
After the revolution, the population had diverse conditions (social inequalities between indigenous people, peasants, workers), but the only common factor was illiteracy.
President Victoriano Huerta (1913-1914) publishes the first rules of Cinematography. Venustiano Carranza (1917 – 1920) initiates the policy of cinematographic production with the support of the State. During the period of Álvaro Obregón (1920 – 1924), at the request of José Vasconcelos, the Ministry of Culture was created, promoting documentary cinema for cultural purposes. (Aguilera , 2015, p. 1)
Creation of the public education secretariat
With the creation in 1921 of the Secretariat of Public Education under the mandate of Álvaro Obregón and the secretary José Vasconcelos, books and magazines were published with the intention of incorporating the population and especially the rural population to have printed materials.
It was then that she became a publisher, and for this she had an editorial department, printed books and magazines such as "The Book and the People (1922-1926 and 1928-1935), the Classical Readings for Children (1924) and the collection of 17 classics of universal culture, among whose titles were The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Divine Comedy (1921). (Bello, 2019, pág. 2)
The State took over education and sought to instruct the entire population by making these materials reach the entire Mexican territory, thus strengthening two important tasks: massively developing primary education and replacing dogmatism to encourage restlessness, research, and doubt.
And so "have literate citizens educated in their civil rights, industrious, aware of their obligations to the community and committed to the republican government. (Vertiz, De Sierra, & Rocha , 2017, pág. 24)
Cultural missions were created (evoking the first missionaries who arrived in Mexico) where teachers specialized in some area such as social promotion, physical education and hygiene.
Some time later, the important rural normals were created because the teachers were improvised people who were enthusiastic, but lacked knowledge of how to teach. For Vasconcelos books were important for learning, so he opened many libraries throughout the republic.
In 1934, Lázaro Cárdenas was established as president. During his term of office, the Education Commission reformed Article 3 of the Constitution, and Narciso Bassols drafted it in 1933, with a concept of socialist education. The President adopted this orientation, without clarifying the implications and contents of this transformation.
Foreign economic and political events, such as the economic condition of 1926 and the world crisis of 1929, the abolition of social classes in Russia and cultural homogeneity, led to the establishment of ideas about socialism in Mexico.
This made some groups admire the president, but another conservative group saw him as an enemy of their interests. The strategy he used was the organisation of trade unions, peasants and religious organisations. (Lira, 2014, pág. 8)
He was in office for 6 years as established by the Constitution of 1917. Within the framework of socialist education, an increase in literacy was achieved, the department of indigenous education was created (1935) and the department of Anthropology of the National Polytechnic Institute, illiteracy was represented as a cause of poverty.
Not knowing how to read or write was associated with ignorance, with citizen incapacity, in this period also increased publications aimed at adult workers.
There was a migration of the inhabitants from the countryside to the city, and the prerequisite for obtaining a job was knowing how to read and write. At this time the trilogy was performed in the Mexican cinema "El prisionero 13", "El compadre Mendoza" and "Vámonos con Pancho Villa". This series shows the bloody side of the revolution. (Gómez, 2011) (p.2) In 1938, the oil expropriation took place and the people cooperated to support the president in this act.
President Adolfo López Mateos creates the Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos (CONALITEG) on February 12, 1959.
CONALITEG is an editorial house and Jaime Torres Bodet and Martín Luis Guzmán were the ones who concreted the mandate of the president, this was an important event for the population and they never imagined what this action would mean over time.
It is created as an administrative body that depends on the Ministry of Public Education, and with this action the consolidation of a cultural base for all Mexicans is concretized. (Vargas, 2019, pág. 9)
From the cited authors, we can conclude that cinema is a resource that can be included to make the history of the free textbook more comprehensible because it motivates students, transmits an experience, transports us to a lapse in time and as didactic support the teacher and students must be immersed in the process of teaching and learning (articulating purposes, learning processes, competencies, and applying evaluation instruments) so that their participation is active.
It involves the senses and feelings, thus allowing knowledge to be strengthened through the different channels of perception and with it, that the knowledge acquired is permanent.
It is a way of strengthening reflection based on the theme that is addressed and socialized with the group, because it allows recognizing diversity and bringing into play respect for different ways of expressing feelings and thoughts.
That can be a didactic material to recognize the importance that has the appearance of the free textbook and know the facts that made possible its appearance until the creation of the CONALITEG.
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- Aguilera , C. (2015). History of Mexican cinema during the presidential periods from 1896 to the present. Mexico City, Mexico.
- Bello, K. (February 13, 2019). Semblanza de la Secretaría de Educación Pública. Retrieved from Ministry of Public Education Profile.
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- Lira, A. (2014). La alfabetización en México: Campañas y cartillas, 1921,1944. Traslaciones Revista Latinoamericana de Lectura y Escritura, 126.149.
- Melche , J. (1997). The woman in Mexican cinema as a film figure and director. Revista de la universidad UNAM, 24-27.
- Rey, S. (2013). Cinema as a didactic resource for teaching history. Argentina: Universidad de la Rioja.
- Ruiz , F. (1994). Cinema and teaching. Communicate: Revista científica iberoamericana de comunicación y educación Dialnet, 74-80.
- Tomatazos. (November 20, 2006). Retrieved from Tomatazos: https://www.tomatazos.com/articulos/222436/El-cine-de-la-Revolucion-Mexicana.
- Vargas, N. (2019). The History of Mexico in Free Textbooks: Evidence of Transformations in National Integration Models. Scielo Revista mexicana de investigación educativa, 3, 4, 5.
- Vera, P. (2011). Cinema as a didactic resource in the area of Language and Literature. Logroño: International University of La Rioja.
- Vertiz, M., De Sierra, M., & Rocha , L. (2017). Historical Essays on Educational Reforms in Mexico. UPN Digital Magazine, 80.Vidaurri, J. (n.d.). National cinema 1930-1960. Obtained from Universidad Virtual del Estado de Guanajuato:
- Villa, L. (2009). Cincuenta años de la comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos: cambios y permanencias en la educación mexicana. Mexico: Secretaría de Educación Pública Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos.
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